May 25, 2024  
PUBLISHED 2024-2025 Credit Catalog 
PUBLISHED 2024-2025 Credit Catalog

Early Childhood Education Diploma

Location(s): In Person (Main Campus)

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Our Early Childhood Education (ECE) diploma program is designed for those with a passion for positively impacting the lives of young children during their formative years.

This program will equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge to become a frontline leader in ECE settings.  

In this program, you will:  

  • develop a robust understanding of early childhood development from birth to age 12 
  • learn through a blend of theoretical, classroom-based instruction, project-based courses and integrated practicum experiences 
  • learn curriculum design and development techniques for creating responsive and relationship-based programs 
  • gain insights into Flight, Alberta’s early learning and care framework 
  • enhance your fundamental communication skills and develop the digital literacy necessary for the modern ECE environments 
  • develop observation, assessment, documentation and reporting techniques 
  • acquire skills in behaviour management, problem-solving, and collaboration 
  • learn strategies to support the holistic development and well-being of children, staff, and volunteers 
  • gain an understanding of the importance of ethics, professionalism, and advocacy in ECE 
  • develop leadership skills specific to the ECE setting.

You will commit to creating safe, respectful, inclusive play environments that support diversity and equity. You will engage with community partners to support ongoing learning and growth.  

You’ll foster a broader perspective on wellness, equity, diversity, inclusion, reconciliation, and child-centred learning through engagement and direct work with children, families, and ECE professionals.  

By the end of this program, you will have the expertise to coordinate and manage day-to-day operations in ECE settings, ensuring a nurturing and stimulating environment for young learners. You’ll be ready to step into a leadership role and make a meaningful difference in the lives of children and their communities. 

Traits, skills and aptitudes

Early childhood educators are social, methodical and directive. 

You need:   

  • to be playful, sensitive, and caring toward children  
  • initiative and enthusiasm  
  • resilience, persistence, and the ability to regulate your emotions  
  • critical-thinking skills  
  • to model respectful behaviour and language  
  • a healthy lifestyle and physical fitness 
  • to prioritize ethical decision-making and practice  
  • consistent, positive strategies to guide children’s behaviour  
  • to plan for, observe, engage with, and support children’s play and learning  
  • to communicate and work respectfully with children, parents, caregivers and other professionals  
  • to document interactions with children, parents, caregivers and other professionals clearly  
  • to take time to learn about each child and create a curriculum based on that learning.  

You should enjoy taking a creative and open-minded approach to your work and building relationships with people, especially children. You should be at ease taking responsibility and supervising others. 

You are strongly encouraged to refer to the ALIS website for career, learning, and employment information for early childhood educators to ensure you can successfully meet the occupational requirements for the program and profession.

Academic path

If you have previously completed SAIT’s Early Childhood Education certificate program, you will meet the admission requirements to enter this diploma program.

The certificate program curriculum aligns with the first two semesters of this program, so you can earn your diploma with one additional year of study.

Practicum, co-op and work integrated learning opportunities

In this program, you will complete four practicum work placements, where you will develop critical thinking and decision-making skills by observing and participating in the role of the early childcare education professional. 

You will be assigned practicum placements with consideration given to your preference of location. However, due to limited availability in Calgary, it might be necessary for you to travel or relocate outside the city. Special considerations will not be accommodated.

In compliance with the practica agreements with our clinical partners, you will be required to provide specific documentation before you can participate in your practicum. Find out what requirements you need for this program. 

Accreditations, designations or certifications

Graduates are eligible to apply for the Level 3 - Early Childhood Educator Certification.


Upon successful completion of this program, you’ll recieve a SAIT Early Childhood Education diploma.

Program length

2 years

Accepts international applicants - PGWP-eligible

This program accepts international applicants and meets the eligibility criteria for the Post-Graduation Work Permit program, as long as the student is registered in on-campus classes or completes more than 50% of the courses on campus (for blended options). 

International students attending all classes online will NOT be eligible for a Post-Graduate Work Permit. International students are responsible for maintaining their eligibility throughout their studies. 

Not eligible for CAJG

This program is not eligible for the Canada Alberta Job Grant

Related careers

Our graduates may work in the following occupations. Some careers require additional experience and education. 

Potential careers (NOC):

  • Early childhood educators and assistants (42202)
  • Education policy researchers, consultants and program officers (41405)
  • Health policy researchers, consultants and program officers (41404)

Admission requirements - Applicants educated in Canada

All applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency and meet the following requirements:

  • at least 65% in English Language Arts 30-1 or 30-2, and
  • completion of SAIT’s Early Childhood Education certificate program or an equivalent.

SAIT accepts high school course equivalents for admission for applicants educated outside Alberta.

Admission requirements - Applicants educated outside of Canada

All applicants who were educated outside of Canada must demonstrate English language proficiency and provide proof they meet the program admission requirements with an international document assessment. Find accepted educational documents and assessment options

SAIT may also accept courses completed at certain international post-secondary institutions.

Program outline

The Early Childhood Education diploma requires 60 credits (21 courses) to complete.

The program spans two years, with two semesters each year.

Suggested schedule of study


You must attain a PGPA and/or a CGPA of 2.0 or better each semester and pass the prerequisite courses to progress through the program.

To qualify for graduation, you must pass all courses, attain a CGPA of 2.0 or better and complete course requirements within the prescribed timelines.

Review our grading and progression procedure > 

Books and supplies

Books and supplies are approximately $1,000 - $1,500 per full-time year.

This is a bring-your-own-device program with a standard computer hardware and software requirement. See the specific requirements on our computers and laptops page.

A portable personal computing device is required. An Apple or Android laptop or tablet is preferable to other device types. Mobile phones are unsuitable.

Find your booklist on the SAIT Bookstore’s website. The booklist will be available closer to the program start date. Booklists are created by semester and available approximately two weeks before classes begin.

Additional fees 

  • A fee is associated with obtaining a police information check, including a vulnerable sector check, payable to the police or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
  • A fee of approximately $50 to $100 is associated with an electronic student permit checking submission required for clinical practicum placements, payable to Synergy Gateway through the Verified software platform.
  • Basic Life Support (BLS) Provider (Level C) CPR annual updates are required. All CPR courses must be from the Heart and Stroke Foundation. 
  • You are responsible for additional expenses related to your practicum, including pre-practicum requirements and relocation costs to practicum sites outside of Calgary.

Health and Public Safety program advising

For any questions or to set up an advising appointment, please contact our School of Health and Public Safety.

Phone: 403.284.8481

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